There is something precariously promising about winter. When I trudge through the snow in the Chicago cold, I tense up, but I think it’s from anticipation, not the cold itself. For so many people, winter is an end – it is death, dying, cold, the loss of warmth, the end of harvest, etc. For me, winter seems a tentative beginning. The classic image of a lone figure walking along a snowy path with a hazy background of clouds seems to me an image of both hope and desolation. I see l’esperance and la solitude, au meme temps. Somehow there is something redeeming in that tragic image – it is the reason we love snow so much, the reason that, despite the cold, we bundle up and put on our jackets and gloves and go sledding, make snowmen and snow angels, take pictures, go skiing. Cold refreshes us. It chills to the bone, yes, but it reminds us that we are alive, and that chill is cleansing. It prepares us for the future, for the promise of something greater, of something yet to be had.